Pharrell Williams has put an end to his acclaimed ‘Something In The Water’ Festival, and it’s not due to the ongoing Coronavius pandemic. The acclaimed producer cites the “toxic energy” in the city as why he is choosing not to continue putting on the festival next year, or maybe ever again.
According to WAVY, Williams is upset with the leadership of the city, and has nixed the festival’s return for 2022. The Neptunes producer, designer and anything else you can think of sent a letter to Virginia Beach City Manager Patrick Duhaney on Tuesday (Oct. 5) spelling out all his concerns. And in light of a tragic event in his family, it was very personal.
“I wish the same energy I’ve felt from Virginia Beach leadership upon losing the festival would have been similarly channeled following the loss of my relative’s life,” wrote Williams, whose cousin, Donovon Lynch, 25, was shot and killed by a Virginia Beach police officer back in March 2021.
Questions have arisen since Lynch’s death, including why the officer behind the trigger didn’t have his body cam on and the victim’s family disputing claims that he was armed. Pharrell Williams wrote his letter in response to one from Duhaney expressing disappointment in the Something in the Water Festival not behind held the past two years due to COVID considerations.
Added Williams, “I love my city, but for far too long it has been run by — and with toxic energy. The toxic energy that changed the narrative several times around the homicide of my cousin, [Donovon] Lynch, a citizen of Virginia, is the same toxic energy that changed the narrative around the mass murder and senseless loss of life at Building Number 2.”
Although the letter doesn’t cite more specifics, the message has clearly been delivered.
Duhaney asked that Williams and festival leadership meet with the city before making any final decisions on the festival.
In his response, Williams didn’t address that invitation.
Instead, Williams ended by saying that “until the gatekeepers and the powers-that-be consider the citizens and the consumer base, and no longer view the idea of human rights for all as a controversial idea … I don’t have any problems with the city, but I realize the city hasn’t valued my proposed solutions either.”
While Williams didn’t go into specifics of who exudes the “toxic energy,” sources close to the superstar have shed light that it likely references some action taken by power brokers at the Oceanfront. The Something in the Water executive producer helped launch Listen Learn Love VB. The group was organized to “fast-track the diversity and inclusion conversation” and “rebrand Virginia Beach as a “sanctuary for human rights.”
Sources told 10 On Your Side it fell apart when some Oceanfront business owners opposed the message.
Sounds like Pharrell Williams is flexing his clout for a righteous cause. We’re with it.
Also relevant, this happened in Virginia Beach.
Watch a report on Williams’ letter below.